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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  January 2, 2014 4:00am-6:01am EST

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>> "washington journal" continues. host: joining us now to talk about political stories to watch in 2014, shane goldmacher of national journal. he is their congressional
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correspondent. good morning help new year. when it comes to the agenda when congress gets back in session, what's on the list? guest: they are coming back. they are coming back after three years of the at least productive legislative work in congressional history. there's a lot on their agenda. unfinished business. the first thing the senate will be taking up, is the effort to reextend unemployment insurance which expired at the end of this last year. 1.3 americans lost their long term unemployment insurance. democrats trying to push to reextend. they will be taking up confirmation of janet yellen as the next chairwoman of the federal reserve. she will be the first woman to hold that post. because he rewrote the filibuster rule, she's almost guaranteed to be confirmed. they took the key procedural
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vote. in the house, it's not clear what the house will do. really they've been playing defense. they want to avoid the democratic agenda and president obama's agenda to be put in place. they want to fight against any expansion of obamacare and they want to win political points so they can take back the senate in 2014. host: talking specific about that. because we have midterm elections. what is the track record of congress actually accomplishing things in midterm election years. guest: it's tougher. the political environment currently made it harder. typically the focus has been the general election. folks don't want to do a lot leading. to the general. that's no longer where most members of congress fear their future. they fear future in primaries. fem -- that moves up the election calendar earlier. those primary elections begin as early as march. for some lawmakers it is already the middle of campaign season.
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they are seasoning owl mail -- sending out mailers. host: as far as turning the health of the senate, when it comes to elections. what's the chances of change or shrinking russias between democrats and republicans? guest: in the house of representatives, the republicans is feeling comfortable. they hold a 17 seat majority. in the senate, the democrat have a five seat majority. they have to lose five seats to bring it to a even tie and six for the republicans to take control. it's possible but there are enough democratic house seats that are competitive next year. it would require republicans to almost sweep the map. sweep six of the seven most contentious race. that's a tough task. given this fall, the healthcare
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law stumbled, the -- host: shane goldmacher unemployment benefits couldn't happen at the end of last year. what is the back and forth wrangling between democrats and republicans? guest: when paul ryan and patty murray struck a deal in the congress first bipartisan budget, this is something they left off the table. something the democrats wanted and the republicans said no to. the democrats are a little unhappy about that. there's very little they have they can do to force this on republicans. the next pressure point in the congress, which is really the only time they get work done facing a deadline, that's coming in february, when we again hit a debt ceiling. where the government needs to borrow money to pay its bills. that comes february 7th. it's a soft deadline.
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we hit that and there's extraordinary measures that become ordinary the treasury secretary can do to extend that limit. after february 7th, that's going to be the next pressure point. the problem for democrats, they don't have a lot of leverage over republicans. host: we're talking about a wide range of political stories here with shane goldmacher. if you want to ask questions he brought u p, here's a chance to do so. give us a call, 202-585-3881 for republicans, 202-585-3880 for democrats and 202-585-3882 for independents. if you want to tweet your questions you can e-mail us. the debt limit, it's never about the debt limit. it's the philosophy behind the debt limit. what's going to be on the table as far as discussions and negotiations are concerned? guest: the big fight that
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happened last fall was tied to both the debt limit as well as funding the government. funding the government is happening. that budget deal we just discussed. that's going to be in place. in january, that shouldn't be a problem. the real question are republicans chasing from the government shutdown that hurt them so much politically they don't want to make a big fight about the debt limit in february. they are looking for some kind of small fraction they can take and walk away and tell the republican base, we fought for something. but the leadership of the party doesn't want to force another brinkmanship show down. that's not what the members of congress want. is there going to be movement from below that happened last fall pressures them into a more a brinksmanship show down, it's possible. host: where is that movement
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coming from? guest: last fall it came from republican activist. ted cruz galvanized. also throughout the august recess, conservative activist led by former senator jim demint traveled around the country to funnel anger with obamacare. now that law is in place. today about six million american have health insurance that wouldn't otherwise, two million to the obamacare exchanging, about four million through expanded medicaid. that fight is going to keep happening. the law is in place now. it's not clear whether there's a momentum for another big fight in february. host: there was a story on the hill, the headline said, tea party faces 2014 challenge. in its story it says speaker john boehner who repeatedly ripped into outside conservative groups over attacks of the government shutdown fight. how does what happened last year, especially this tactic he took affect what goes on?
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guest: there's a fascinating dynamic with the speaker. he has two different audiences he needs to please. audience is the conservative house of representatives, last year conservatives nationally took a beating during that shutdown. it helps cement support in his own caucus. they are happy for his leadership. they are happy he was down in the trenches fighting with them. he won some loyalty going into 2014. he's hoping his troops will stick with him. in the last few years, they haven't been there for him. after that big fight, he's built up conservative conference who were worry of him. you saw in december, he blasted outside conservative groups. he's willing to spend that political capital and say i got power now.
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host: your colleague albert a, said john boehner had the best year in washington. guest: within his own conference, he emerged stronger this january than he was last january. nationally, house republicans brand has been soiled. there are a lot of political problems and frankly it's been great that healthcare that was completely broken in most of october and november that helped the republican party recover from the shutdown. within his own conference, he has more support now. host: shane goldmacher of national journal on the first day of the year. here is tom lafayette, california republican line, good morning. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i just want to challenge on republicans in the senate. my thought is, three democrats, montana, south dakota and west
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virginia. i don't think the democrats were competitive there. republicans pick up three seats. then there's three more seats that are in doubt. it's north carolina and arkansas. then it seems to me there's four or five others. they are democratic seats very competitive. it seems your guest doesn't believe the republicans have a chance of taking over the senate. i think it will be done easily. i like your opinion on that. guest: few things, one of the three states you said that are already off the table for the democrats. one of them is montana. the current senator max baucas will be resigning and taking the ambassadorship to china. the governor who's a democrat there, is likely will replace him with a fellow democrat, which will give them a huge advantage going into 2014. they're going to be running an incumbent. that's a huge advantage.
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it shifted the state from being something that was really tough for democrats to a toss up. you're right, the playing field in 2014 is almost all democratic seats. if you look at the ten most competitive seats next year, this year now, ache of them are held by the democrats. yes, they are on defense all across the country. but, you have to remember, to when that still republicans have to win six of those eight democratic rates and hold two seats on the table. host: glenn from chicago on the democrats line. caller: good morning. i have a question. i'm aware of the fact that the benefits for unemployment will be the situation. the food stamp program and i want to know -- i have a friend that owns several day care
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centers. he depend on his partner to help the kids so they can pay their way to day care. [indiscernible] guest: one of the big questions we didn't talk about in 2014 how congress will deal with the farm bill. which contains all the food stamp legislation. that's on the docket in january. right now we're under emergency extension, a 30 day extension. they are hoping to hammer that out in january. the real question how deep does congress cut food stamp program. house republicans proposed cutting about $4 billion over the next ten years. not necessarily through straight cuts but sort of making it more difficult to qualify for the program. sort of strengthening background checks and the likes. that's one of the issues democrats has been fighting. it looks like they're moving towards a middle ground. there will be cuts to food
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stamps but it won't be quite as deep. host: jose from independent line miami. caller: good morning. i know there's a lot of talk about the fact that boehner stand up for the budget deal. there are a lot of hope that people they will be able to bring up the legislation for immigration this year. is there any chances for him to do so given the primary coming up? guest: you know, speaker boehner is really the person to watch on this debate. a bill has cleared the senate. it has to come up in the house. he's played coy with this. he made no indications of taking it up. he talked about breaking up a large bill into smaller pieces and taking pieces that republicans like. at the same time, he's made no legislative movement he's given some hints to immigration and the white house has an interest
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in this. they hired a woman last fall to spearhead immigration for him and used to for john mccain who led the last immigration push. there's questions if you just simply flirting with the democrats and the white house enough so they don't hammer republicans for next year. people don't know. the thing is, yes, the speaker took up budget legislation in the last year that was passed by quite a few democrats. at the end of the day that must pass legislation. you need a budget to fund the government. he doesn't need to have immigration reform come up. host: one time the senate wanted a big deal, the house wanted a piecemeal deal. there's a lot internally that changed as far as the ground concerning getting immigration bill done. is that right?
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guest: does speaker boehner want immigration bill. there's a lot of belief among republican strategist, the republican party needs to address this issue. there's a perception they are the white only party. they are not pro-latino, they are not pro legal immigration and bringing people into the tent of america. most strategist think boehner fall into that camp. how deeply is that camp is he. is he in the camp that buck his own conservatives that want no part of an amnesty bill. host: we saw this approach back with the bush administration. guest: it's the question what is the a.? the days after mitt romney's loss where he won the highest percentage of the white vote of any republican of ronald reagan and still lost the election. there was a discussion among the republican party. we got to do something. we can't be winning more and more of the white vote.
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speaker came out and talked about and we want immigration over haul right in the days after the election. that sort of people think that's where he is politically. a question of can he move his members there. the speaker has not gone out in front of the caucus often. he make she's both leading his conference but not getting too far ahead. host: what about nancy pelosi? guest: she wants to change the immigration laws. she wants to bring the people who are here into some kind of legislatization system. harry reid in the senate is that too. a bipartisan bill passed in the senate. republicans control the floor. host: as far as fallout, washington times highlight the story about marco rubio, saying he was changing position on immigration. they think tarnished his image. guest: 2013 is over.
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that couldn't have come soon enough for marco rubio. he had a rough year. it shows one of the challenges, not a lot of people from the congress typically become presidents. at the beginning of the year, he was talking top tier 2016 presidential tenure. he was part of that gang of eight that put together the immigration bill. he was the leader politically out front and he got the got the bill through the senate. what has he got for it? he got anger from the republican base and he backed ted cruz and other hard line republicans over the shutdown. he's been in a political noman's land. you got a couple years and when you're in washington, people think 2016 matters now. it probably doesn't. the regular activist who still think he's a well spoken, smart,
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great representation of the republican party. he did have a tough 2013 and immigration is one of the reasons. host: shane goldmacher joining us from the national journal. thomas from providence, kentucky, you're up next from the independent line. go right ahead. caller: i was calling about the obamacare. it seem like to me, that the republican wanted to do something, they will come up with alternative program to obama care. guest: conservatives put together a package of their own. it's hard to come up to an alternative to a law that's getting so much attention. as a republican senator from wisconsin, a blue state but republican elected in the 2010 tea party wave, ron johnson.
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he said as of january 1st, obamacare is not just a piece of paper we can repeal and pull away. about six million people now are going to have health insurance because of this law. republicans alternatives, they're going to have to come up with way to keep people to have insurance. there's a long history and behavorial checks, once people have something, they don't want it taken away. now they have the health insurance, it's going to be very hard to come up with alternatives. host: 48 plus votessent affordable care ssent -- votes on the affordable care act last year. guest: absolutely. partly it's the republican base. republicans can't afford to be seen by their own primary voters as doing anything but pushing for a full repeal. there's a tough senate race in georgia going to be an open seat. it's one of the two democrats is
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hoping to go after. one of the republicans there, came out and suggested, this obamacare law, i voted for repeal, let's just try to fix the problems. that's the focus. he was hammered. he was hammered by conservatives in his own state. he quickly came out and said, never mind, i just want repeal. forget fixing it. everybody running for senate there is saying full repeal. as long as that's the dynamic in the republican party, you're going to keep seeing those votes. conservatives continue to want to prove themselves. host: shane goldmacher you were talking about the outside groups. how can the mainstream gop complain when outside groups have always been the inside groups. guest: one of the ironies, these outside groups mostly located in washington d.c., you saw that during the government shutdown. one of the big groups pushing it, was the heritage foundation
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and president jim demint. he got that support by traveling around the country. those outside groups are based in washington. they are trying to represent that anger, that populous frustration among conservative activist that led to the tea party rise in 2010. host: these outside groups will be involved in primary process themselves? guest: absolutely. if you look last year. more than half dozen conservatives are looking at other challenging setting republican senators or running a tea party republican in open seats. you can see each cycle that republican party and the senate has become more conservative because the republicans, not in number, but in sort of temperament and ideology has moved to the right. you can see that again in the coming year. host: jack from california on democrats line. good morning. caller: good morning. happy new year to both of you. my question is about the
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unemployment benefits. why is that when it comes to extending unemployment benefits, we got to find funds for it. when it comes to giving tax cuts and subsidies to the millionaires and billionaires, nobody come up with where we got to come up with pay for that. thank you c-span. guest: one of the big challenges with the unemployment issue is the economy as a whole is growing pretty rapidly. you see the stock market had best year sense the mid-1990s. saw the economic growth rate in the 3rd quarter was fastest in many years. a lot of people are being left behind. people most left behind are the long term unemployed. yes, when it comes to congress, they talk about coming for what they call pay fors, ways to
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account for the money that will cost to give those people support. these are the folks that are being left behind in this economic turn around, is the people who hasn't had a job for a long i'm and can't find one. you get stigma and depressed. it's tough to be unemployed for a long time. those are the folks facing the deepest cuts. host: lynchburg, virginia, this is where edward is. he's joining us on the republican line. caller: all the issues being addressing what i'm saying, they're talking about downsizing our military while iran and north korea is working to build a military, china is working on three aircraft carriers. if iran decides to go at israel and israel say we're not going to wait for the united states,
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we will prevent them from atomic bombing. with all the rhetoric going ongoing back from pearl harbor and 9/11. we're vulnerable to lot of attacks. if we don't have the strengths to reduce the obamacare, ronald reagan said the best way to defend yourself, is to have a strong defense. our government is spending $1.5 billion to egypt while we're downsizing our military putting ourselves in jeopardy. guest: one of the big issues on the defense front is that this law called sequestration, which is capping government spending, takes a hit to the defense program. after a years of expansion during iraq war and post 9/11. you know what, for conservatives, what they have in this budget deal just passed the house in december and the
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senate, trying to soften some of the cuts. yes it will take cut backs, for the defense and the congress, john mccain and lindsey graham, it's not enough. host: so 2014, what are the races to watch? guest: i think the chief races to watch are the senate races. there's going to be one house race in florida, special election in a quintessential swing district. it gets a lot of attention when it comes up. democrats think if he can win, it's going to show they have momentum going into the fall races. typically election years get a lot of attention. it's a seat opens up because of the passing of a long time republican congressman. there's the senate races. who's going to control the senate, if we're still talking about the races that one of those earlier callers said, if
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you're talking about west virginia in early october, democrats are doing well. those are the tough ones. the issue will come down to louisiana and north carolina. those are the key races you got two southern incumbent democrats, mary and kay hagan. those are the races to watch. host: what make both of those women vulnerable? guest: for mary it's a tough state. president obama is deeply unpopular in large south including her state. that's issue number one is the president and it's healthcare
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law. they poll very poorly in louisiana. in north carolina, north carolina is moving to be a solid swing state. it is the state obama won in 2008, he lost it last cycle. it's still a conservative state. kay hagan's job is to try to not run as a generic democrat but run as a kay hagan democrat. to run from something different. host: the washington times highlights the house side, former ms. america is running for the house seat there. guest: it's one those primary races. it's in illinois. there's a lot of these primary challengers. it's not clear how serious the candidate she is. she certainly has an interesting biography.
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host: here's edward from lynchburg, virginia, republican line. guest: my concern again and i -- host: edward sorry about that. caller: i like to request our guest pick of the top two or three feel good topics. substantial cooperation from both sides of the aisle in producing legislation. host: is there sentiment from the budget deal that could play over as far as the ability to work together this year? guest: that's the thing i would talk about, when you're talking diplomacy, it's called confidence building measures when two sides agree to set down to share a meal. to do something really basic. that's kind of what the
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republicans and democrats did in december. they agreed to set a budget for the government. that's not that much to celebrate. it's still unusual. the fact they did it, is a positive sign. the democrats brought their votes along and republicans brought their votes along. it was a confident building measure for the congress. does that carry over? it's not clear. it's going to be hard to come up with feel good measures that the congress will pass by every measure over the last three years has been the least productive legislatively in decades. you're not looking at bigger laws coming about in a big year. the third of them are running for reelection. host: talk about tactics. one of the thing that happened, they lowered the bar. they said we're not going to get a deal and we will lower the bar and move forward. guest: couple things they will do is talk about farm bill
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negotiators has been working more than a year. they are hoping to pass a farm bill in january. this will be a confidence of measure. democrat and republicans coming together to pass legislation. that's one issue. another one is there's a broad budget deal. the congress have an interesting process. those committees are busily working on that. democrats are pushing for a january 15 deadline. you could be looking at two month period where congress passes three things of bipartisan. these are the basics. the farm bill expired a long time ago. it needs to be renewed. budget is sort of top line figure. not the biggest challenge. that said, they have haven't been happening. if it is happening, it is a good sign for the two sides to cooperate. they're not talking about any big issues on both sides. host: does congress care they
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get the label of do nothing congress? does it bother them? guest: it doesn't bother speaker boehner. he said don't judge us by the number of laws we passed, judge us by what we're able to repeal. in perspective, if you're a republican, you represent one-half of one third of the federal government. what do you want to do, you want to prevent the other people passing the things you don't like. for them, that is a success. blocking things they don't approve of, that is as far as their agenda is going to get. between the pressures for republican primary voters that don't want them to stray far from the line and reality the democrats control most of the government, republicans has been pretty pleased to sit back and say, let's not big things happen. host: cindy from ohio democrats line. good morning. you're on good morning. caller: good morning to you. happy new year.
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i got one thing that's been perplexing me. i don't understand why it seems that the people that have lost so much during the financial melt down and are still struggling. i mean struggling and still losing and it's great if people were having their jobs. for a lot of us it's not. i want to know if anyone is going to be held accountable for this? this is just not right. it seems like it's off the backs of us out here that had nothing to do with all of this. guest: democrats are hoping to build on in 2014. maybe legislatively and politically. the president has given lot of indication that 2014 will be focused on issues of income inequality. he hinted that's going to be a
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major issue in the state of union. it played a huge role in the election of mayor of new york. the fat cat bankers got ahead and everybody else is left behind. one of the other issues is raising the minimum wage. democrats talking about potentially trying to raise the minimum wage by as much as $3 from $7.25 to more than $10. the president will push it during the state of the union. he did it last year but he didn't follow through. democrats in the congress think this is a great issue for them. both republicans and democrats and especially independent support hiking the minimum wage. yes you're talking about addressing some of the people left behind. it's driven a little bit of washington by the politics. host: especially goes to one of those safety net programs which always seen push back from republicans especially when democrats bring it up.
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guest: absolutely. one of the sort key issues between republican party and democratic party, democrats has been pushing to basically create a deeper, thicker and stronger safety nets. republicans has been, you know what this is something the private sector can take care of. it's one of the sharp contrast between two parties. each side think they will win politically. they bring it up in key midterm years. last big push was in 2006. host: andy from lafayette, indiana independent line, you're on with shane goldmacher, good morning. caller: good morning. thank you so much for taking my call. i'm an independent. i voted for obama the first time. i didn't the second time. i'm a little bit concerned with this obamacare. i got friends who work in the medical field losing their jobs. i had friends had regular jobs
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being reduced to less than 30 hours. i had friends who had good insurance now being rolled over automatically into obamacare. it seems this law is not good for america. we are now divided nation, poor against rich, republicans against democrats. i wish that the president will lead by example. reach across the aisle and become the president he needs to become. i'll hang up and listen to your answer. host: shane goldmacher back in december, you wrote a poll taking a look at america's relations between president and congress. he tried to make improve those relations? guest: what the caller is talking about is that there's a division here. if you look at the healthcare law and polling, democrats think it's a good thing, republicans
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think it's a terrible thing. one of the sort of interesting things if you look back at the obama presidency, it's his decision to push through this healthcare law with only democratic votes. really reshaped the history of his white house. what it's meant, republicans have had no skin in the game. all they wanted to do was attack the law because none of them voted for it. it's a remarkable development, a program this big sort of rewritten social fabric of the country, really passed along party lines. republicans felt alienated. they have felt no sort of investment. we'll see if that changes. how do the dynamic change now that this is in effect. people are getting insurance. it's not clear what's going to change. what you have is a law that's
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been deeply devicive. as a result, you got people -- host: during the shutdown you had president having dinner with republicans to build relations. you see more of that going in the new year especially with immigration as he tries to get the things done? guest: the president made a big push last year to develop relationships with republican senators. he's reworking his white house team to change his relationship with the hill. he's put into place a woman who used to work for senator schumer and chief liaison with the hill. she's somebody widely respected by both democrats and republicans. there's a lot of things he can do to you're his relationship with the hill. there's a lot of complaints they don't hear from the presidents. he had bunch of dinners with republicans through the spring and summer. what came out of it, it was the
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worst government shutdown in years. host: here's william from west point, mississippi, democrats line. caller: thank you, happy new year. like to say that i don't know why we're spending so much time on obamacare. i just don't understand that. to me, every time you turn around the republicans are constantly repealing or going against something. we should be working together as a team. then i look at -- i want to say this, i had friends that went bankrupt because of the fact that they was dealing so hard with their medical bills. the kids had a preexisting, insurance kicked them out, even at our church, we had to take up money to try and help them. the republicans make it seem like it's so bad.
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i really wish they would get on board and help us out here that are poor. then to say that well, we are not going to extend unemployment. i don't understand that. guest: william is talking about the divisions we are just talking about. one of the low examples of how divide this congress is and how hard it is to get things done. talking about senator max baucas is going to be new ambassador to china. he's chair of the most powerful senate in the committee. max baucas is leaving the senate despite the fact he talked for years about reforming the tax code. he's a willing republican partner in the house. they've been traveling the country last year. he's leaving. he doesn't think tax reform will have a chance. this is a congress really -- they are looking at any kind of major legislative achievements in the coming year. anything that happen big,
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immigration, it will be a big surprise for most folks. host: one more call, jerry from tampa, florida, independent line. caller: happy new year. i like to ask shane, does he think republicans by choice or by lack of knowledge. don't understand that the a.c.a. is their healthcare plan came out of the heritage foundation in the 1990's in opposition to hillary care. guest: there's no question, the policy underpinning the affordable care act or obamacare came from conservative think tanks in the 1990's. the idea of requiring vegetables to buy health insurance. that was a original conservative idea. in the soon decades, they flipped. they went from being supportive and orin hatch backing in 20
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years ago, being in strong opposition. mitt romney famously put into place a very similar healthcare law in massachusetts. host: while we're on topic, on the senate side, you wrote about this, it's about the nuclear option passed for judicial nominations and other things. does it stay there? what's your take? guest: at the moment, there's any push by democrats to expand it. there's no question by changing the rules in the senate in the middle of session, republicans were outraged that this will change further in the future. in some future senate when republicans have control, if they have control of the senate and white house, they'll push through a change on legislation or the democrats will too. it's a pandora's box. once you change the rule and the majority gets to do what it wants, there's no stopping in the future. harry reid said they are doing this because of republican
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blockading. that said, by changing the rules, it means it's easier to change it again in the future. it's going to keep happening. it sear seriously damaged the bipartisan in the senate. host: shane goldmacher writes for the national journal. he's their congressional correspondent. you can see his writingaffairs"s
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hour-long event. >> david andelman has a biography that i can't possibly do justice in my typically short -- probably not short enough -- introduction. in brief, he is the author of the book "a shattered peace: versailles in 1919 and the price we pay today." he is the former president of the overseas press club am aware we have students interning come
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as well as the world policy institute. he is the former executive editor of forbes.com has been a domestic and foreign correspondent for "the new york times," a paris-based correspondent for cbs news, a correspondent for cnbc, and is written for "harpers," "the atlantic," "the new republic," and a list of others we won't go through now. i just named the ones i read. today his talk is titled "imperial presidency: gone and all but forgotten." orwill speak for 25 minutes so. i don't generally interject unless things take a terrible turn. we will have time for q&a at the end of. it is my pleasure to turn over the podium to david andelman. [applause] thank you.
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i have to say that this is a particular honor delivering to james clark lecture. he was my predecessor and the great mentor as well when at the debut of my career i had approved us the privilege of writing for him at "foreign affairs," one of our worthy competitors. .et's begin there was a time in the not-too-distant past when the office of the president carried with it all but unprecedented powers, not unlike the great emperors of old. the president could launch towards -- watch wars and claim peace and change the course of history. and political systems for removed in every other respect from the traditional dictatorship, president still will does all but unfettered butr -- wielded all unfettered power. i liked to call this the imperial presidency. no longer. charles de gaulle could launch wars in algeria and indochina with barely a gesture to the national assembly that met .egularly and futilely
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today, francois hollande must turn to a deeply fractured parliament for approval on every .ajor political decision in london, where winston churchill and his war cabinet could join american allies in defense of the empire with barely a nod to the house of commons down the block, today successor david cameron bows meekly at the same body and spent several hours shouting out his efforts to join the same aerican military in syria, state with few clear ties to the british commonwealth. rarely in modern history of cheese of state and governmen -- chiefs of state and government been so handcuffed as they are today. early able to keep a single unlink or die on how history might treat them. the presidency, and imperial or not, is the. at one position in government to which all power flows downward to the rest of the government and at the same time in the best of circumstances upward to the people. but all too often in just one
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direction. in august 1983 there was a panic across the center of africa centered on the nation of chad when the libyan dictator muammar gaddafi was contemplating an invasion of his neighbor to the south. it was a nation that struggles the desert to the north and the jungle to the south -- straddles the desert to the north and the jungle to the south. the french, who for a century or more control of this part of africa, still maintain close economic, political, and cultural ties with their former: he. it was hardly surprising that the detachment of the french foreign legion would find its way to the capital as a show of force. at the same time, though, the periods ruler of chad put somewhat -- the imperious ruler of chad put somewhat more faith in a neighboring dictator, mobutu sase sac -- mobutu sese seko. if there was ever an approval
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president, it was mobutu. he amassed a vast personal fortune which at its peak in 1984, by the time i got there, was estimated that $5 billion. $11 billion in today's money. he was known to charter a supersonic awkward jet -- concorde jet for shopping trips to paris. with power at home and across broad stretches of the african continent on challenge. the president of beleaguered chad was an aspiring mobutu character. he had come to power in a coup a year before i got there and quickly moved to cement his hold as president, self-proclaimed president of course. hardly a decade. he was using a secret police organization that he created to hold onto power. his message included spraying gas into the eyes, ears, and nose into his opponents, and a primitive technique of
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waterboarding that few have managed to survive. now he was fearing the arrival of qaddafi's tanks, power he had little ability to neutralize. it was hardly surprising that c arrived in hardly democratically elected president might want to hedge his bets and seek backup from a leader whose interests might be more france's than those of françois mitterrand. cue mobutu. mobutu's presidential jet touched down in the airport. as both presidents had anticipated, the world press turned out, and i was on hand as well. this was going to be a real show . just the ticket, both presidents hope come to show qaddafi and his forces what they would be up against. thousands lined the route from the airport to downtown, clearly in a festive mood.
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then the doors open and out , clad in hisu leopardskin toga, a cap perched on his head and he's road confidently down the steps, mounting a colossal customized in thetood magisterially back, grabbed anonymity staff with a gold figurehead, and signaled the vehicle to move slowly down the path. a host of escorts banged loudly on jungle drums as big crowd chanted " mobutu, mobutu, mobutu ." awe-inspiring, thrilling in its own way. as consummate a demonstration of presidential power as i've ever witnessed. coffee, incidentally, never bothered to invade. such dictators in president's clothing still exist in parts of the world. republic ofoviet belarus has never known any president but it's a really stalinist alexander lukashenko
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-- any president but the thoroughly stalinist alexander lukashenko. it is effectively a latter-day gulag sandwiched between poland, russia, and ukraine. ocean of thean moabites, the president -- of the maldives, the president held on for years as his nation holds onto some someone's of democracy. he executed it little wealth that she has a cute -- he has accumulated little wealth on the order of the head of papua new guinea, who has a network somewhat short of mobutu's but still north of $600 million. these leaders, while bearing the title of president, maintain the trappings of hereditary monarchs who still peripherally -- who still proliferate across the
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gulf. each rules with barely a nod to those he or she holds in his way. of course, there are very few female dictators of this strike. lukashenko was that he is all that stands between these people and other instability, brought property that is enslaved vast stretches of the soviet union, and the depredations of powerful russian mafia crime families, all of which was true, but at what cost? these serve as one extreme of the presidency. today francis perhaps the other. francois hollande is a far cry from the nation's last socialist president. namesake, or françois mitterrand, a leader in control of every word spoken by anyone in his administration from every act in action that flowed from the palace, had in any respects perfect pitch when it came to the sense of how our president should rule, where to pull every lever to achieve maximum impact. even as the power of his office
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was slipping away from the fast charles ded by gaulle, mitterrand did his best to slow the process. one afternoon, the foreign minister had concluded a particularly sensitive diplomatic negotiation and was exiting the foreign ministry in haste, running the goblet of a scrum of french and western journalists. i was there for cbs, and i thrust my microphone in front of him and asked him a question in english, to achieve replied reflectively in his impeccable english, and then he disappeared before my french counterpart .ould interrogate him in french each evening at the palace, mitterrand would convene a group of his ministers and counselors to watch data clock evening news. -- the 8:00 evening news. rapidly evening, french national television was compelled to use my soundbite in english subtitled in french. what an embarrassment, mitterrand sniffed. a french minister speaking in english on french television.
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imagine. trust me, it never happened again. after that, it became all but impossible to obtain an incursion soundbite from a single member of the government under françois mitterrand -- a single english soundbite from a single member of the government under françois mitterrand. it is the longest any french president will likely will again. the reason for that is that in the year 2000, the constitution was amended to provide a maximum of 2 five-year terms. three presidents later, even more has changed. francois hollande finds himself in a pickle that is deeply reflective of many of his fellow presidents, but with far less room to maneuver. writesemma is terrible, the leading editorialists of the brilliant french daily.
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he continues to sap his ability to function. francois hollande may well have all presidential powers, but his power is to assert himself as a leader. the immediate context he was talking about was france's growing economic crisis. standard & poor's has dropped the nation's credit rating to aa from aa plus and and just this year -- that is just a year after it lost its aaa rating, of course, under sarkozy. hollande has found it impossible to drag his nation out of this as had out of despair, his right-wing predecessor sarkozy. the question of the bureau presidency is a question of atmospherics and is by no means confined to france. in this multipolar world, where operations are informed by a voice of the sting ally and a broad range of voices clamoring to be heard, each offering appealing solutions, presidential leadership -- indeed, leadership of any stripe -- has become seriously diluted. when i arrived in paris in 1980
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for the debut of mitterrand's presidency, and in fact, by the time i returned to the united states seven years later, there was no internet in france or anywhere else. each evening there was a national news broadcast on each networksstate-owned which had sensational murders and the doings of the famous fashion stars and sports and weather. , i have those newspapers catered to many political persuasions in france, from the centrist to the conservative "la figaro." but it was the president with is the load stoat of government -- who was the lodestone of government and society. today that is no longer the case really, in france and a lot of other places. in france, along with much of the civilized world, they have been brushed by forces -- brushed by forces impeding for attention and allegiance.
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outwardnly an manifestation of the presidency across the globe. sharply circumscribed the term limits are the rule rather than the exception. the only profound a dysfunctional dictatorial leaders of uganda have no term levels for the presidents. only belarus and uganda have no term limits for the presidency anymore. tajikistan let its president hang around for seven years with a maximum of 3 terms. in theory. in practice, he has held office since 1994 and shows no sign of fading into retirement. the same open-ended tenure holds true for the president of italy, but that is largely ceremonial post. . at incumbent largely serves
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the will of the parliament. the leaders of senegal, uzbekistan, and ireland -- another largely ceremonial post -- are each allowed 2 seven-year terms. i state this because it demonstrates that today few democratic elected presidents have the same power and reach as their predecessors. the only remaining imperial president of the ones who largely used up their authority and maintain the office in name only. this shift in the power balance, this diffusion of power, has led to profound disconnects on the world stage and the ability to include any truly transformative initiative. this past summer, when i ran into today new and somewhat freethinking president -- we all --e -- irradiance were jo iranians rejoice. hossein rouhani seems like a fresh trees compared with his knuckleheaded predecessor. he said that the holocaust was not as oracle fiction. he was prepared to take president obama's phone call and chat amiably for a few minutes,
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although a handshake at you and maybe a bit of a stretch of the moment. rouhani's negotiators returned to the bargaining table, we all know that. in an effort to broker some progress that could put a hold on that nation's nuclear ambitions, while at the same time lifting the collection of sanctions that was striking the iranian economy. here again, the sharply curtailed powers of presidents on both sides of the table reasserted themselves. on the iranian side, neither the president nor his foreign minister had really unfettered control of a section -- a certain existential issue as iran's nuclear program. when it comes to foreigners strategic affairs, iran's nuclear aspirations, a single individual is pulling all the strings, the supreme leader grand ayatollah ali, in -- ali khamenei. there may be no... figure behind the curtains, but the ability of the presidents of the u.s., france, russia and china, even
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the chancellor of germany are equally concerned when it comes to arriving at a bargain that is asnsformative initiatives restraining the iranian nuclear weapons program. a broadt obama has swath of congress who would prefer tightening sanctions rather than listening them. the president of russia and china have a somewhat broader margin of maneuver, but their hands are still tight as well -- tied as well. what is holding acted their inclination to throw. or behind iran is whether jinpingt putin and xi w watc -- want their nations to be pariahs. international image. in earlier times, it was possible for a national leader to complete a pact with little reference to forces outside his immediate entourage. the paris these conference that led to the treaty of her sigh and the end of world war one --
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treaty of oversigh -- the tree of versaille and the end of world war i -- as i put in my wilson largely went along with the means of achieving his goal of the league of nations, with an ultimately ignominious end to that exercise. the delegations of japan and china, generally not seem to be versailles,thei represented by the last of the great generals, and figure fromenerable china. neither was ever seen in public. each confined himself to fling strings from behind his respective curtain, allowing his diplomats and politicians to mime in public the words that each had so carefully crafted
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behind the scenes. today no such tricks up our have her very much impact at all. the stakes are much higher and far more nuanced. everyday business and financial interests must make commitments that plane to the balance. such choices may have profound effects on the course of a nation's economic development and vitality. where to manufacture the next generation electronic device, where to build that dam or power project or prospect for coal or oil or precious minerals. such decisions are based on a context cactus of risks and consistency, honesty, and continuity. leader headings into his third decade of all but unchallenged power, is falling rapidly behind on almost every score. putin is a sensibly the most powerful of any elected president today, a true heir to the czars a millennium or more before him. to leavehas been able
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and then return to office without for a moment ceding control of his nation? as any ofis hobbled his western counterparts by forces as pernicious as those nibbling at the foundations of llande ando cameron. while ruled by an all-powerful and on challenge president, it is crumbling as rapidly as any western democracy. is all buto maintain unchallenged power, yes to pay off those who helped him rise to the top and keep him there, the crafts --and copper and kleptocratic. but the oil is fading in desire ability. of the commodity rises and falls with the open flow of international crises. middle eastn the oil. could even such events are
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of diminishing value as it permanent of oil demand -- as a determinant of oil demand. the united states approaching self-sufficiency, while the number of the consumer, china, makes side deals in far corners of the globe. hat is an oligarch like putin to do? russia has been reduced to at most a bully, a spoiler in world affairs. above all, a bad that when it .omes to long-term investment the only good president in today's context is one who can be counted on to maintain a certain modicum of consistency and intelligence in the use or distribution of power over the judiciary, legislature, bureaucracy of the government he or she leads. in a so-called pure democracy, of course, there is the concept , designedand balances by america's honeypot is to restrain the powers they would put on a single leader --
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america's founding fathers to restrain the powers they would put on a single leader. his or hers is the only branch was powers are controlled by a single individual. in essence, we have arrived at the crux of the modern presidency. as louis the 14th was so front of -- so fond of saying, for president of today's world, it is no less true could the problem is that ensuing centuries, forces in and outside the government have been chipping away at these unitary powers, particularly on the economic front, where power to the ultimately resides -- where power today ultimately resides. where once the power of presence rose and fell on the evan flow of cheap little empires, the maintenance of sea lanes or the medications between colonies and far corners of the globe -- remember those days when the sun never set on the british empire? not anymore. now power rests on the goodwill of corporate titans, the presidents of the new empires.
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where apple or samsung will assemble their newest smartphone, where bp or bhp will prospect for oil or nickel or rare earths, underwriting the railings and headlines to bring these commodities to market, these are the currency of power for today's presidents, tracking those companies did his or her country. -- a tracking those countries to his or her country. take india and china. both led by presidents. any chinese, while lusting after some form of democracy in which they might play a role in putting the president in power, sniff at the true democracy of india as a cacophony of competing interests, tied hopelessly in bureaucratic nots, living in filth with little opportunity to accumulate real wealth. indians revel in their ability to live and act freely.
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in the end, the international business has beaten a path to majors door, with investments and contracts and commerce that marked a nation and its leader as a success in the modern world. china is one of the rare nations with the president who can truly he considered imperial in the classically modern sense. we need to reflect carefully on the view of such power, wielded wisely and honestly and in the interests of the many rather than few. there is no world -- no room in our modern world the on foundations of transparency and openness for the leaders of oligarchies and autocracies, and that goes for china as well, of course. at the same time, there is a broad, unclaimed neutral ground where wise rulers exercise a range of authority and creativity. where do we go from here? howard president may reclaim his or her power, reassert a on history, and shaped the nature of the gold -- global dialogue are open to question in these days of diminishing imperial
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power. appearances would suggest that the imperial presidency is on a permanent downward slope. still, all is not lost. for a reason very peculiar to the core of the power of today's modern president presiding in any form of a democracy, a president, no matter how narrowly victories the free and fair election, arrives in office with a substantial reservoir of goodwill. i like to use the analogy of a large barrel filled to the brim with fresh water that represent power, reach, and influence. it is accompanied by a ladle. for each crisis, each real or perceived opportunity, the president dips into the barrel, or moving a brimming ladle -- removing a tiny dollop or brimming ladle. it is tipped over with quantities flowing out. eagero often, the novice to arrive at a quick victory biggs do quickly and deeply into this barrel and it empties
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before it's time. the presidenty uses the reservoir suggests the nature and course of his or her power and reach. there is one absolute constant. once that barrel is empty, it can be replenished only by returning to the electorate for whenever the constitution of that nation may provide. intensive existential crises -- the 2 world wars of the last century, the cuban missile crisis, 9/11, such a paradigm may be suspended as all cluster around this barrel and replenish whatever may be necessary to empower the leader in question with all the trappings of imperial presidents of old. of course, giants do still walk the earth, in not -- if not in the form of mere mortals but in the form of the systems they represent. never before in history have so many people live under a form of government that could be seen to represent what they truly desire
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, what is most congruent to their hopes and dreams for a rich and meaningful life. at the same time, imperial presidents are no longer able to dispense half of europe to a communist dictator with the stroke of a pen as roosevelt did at delta, or enslaved vast regions under colonial servitude, as the western powers decreed at the end of the 20th century. it may produce fewer unilateral, certainly less traumatic transitions, but it is incumbent on each of us to choose wisely in designating whose hand should be allowed to wield the ladle as into the barrel of power and influence. thank you. [applause] >> if you are called on for question, you should wait just a few seconds for the microphone to be put near you. it doesn't have to be -- you
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don't have to speak into it, but it will be somewhere near you, and that will be good enough that you will be heard. questions? yes. >> [indiscernible] terrific talk, david, but he failed to mention one name, the most mysterious president at the moment to me, mr. assad in s yria. give the us your analysis of that. >> there's no question that he is not only mysteries but a president and an autocrat at the same time. clearly, this is a very, very difficult situation. how do you remove a president who has functionally no term of office and the power of the state behind him, the power of the military behind him? that is a conundrum that we have not yet managed to figure a way out of. i would like to see a system
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where the international community could in fact joined together to bring about a change in the regime such as assad. we are not there yet. we don't have a united nations or any multinational contract in any fashion that has been able to successfully do that. that is really a major hole in the international system today. being propped up by some of the most of your presidents currently an office --the most imperial presidents currently in office, namely mr. putin and the array names -- and the iranians? >> certainly the iranians have helped out. we have a new regime in iran that is trying some kind of oreement with the west, democratic nations. it is hard to see how they in thee to support assad same passion they have in the past. utin and histime, p
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chinese counterpart are feeling pressure on their and to bring themselves back into a position where they can be perceived as functioning players in the international community and not just pariahs. they do not want to be seen as pariahs. putin has desperately embarked on a campaign to bring international investment into his country. he is frantic about that. he has the olympics coming up at the last thing he wants to be doing is to be seen helping a non-aquatic decatur who was slaughtering his people -- and autocratic dictator who is slaughtering his people. i would like to think that for the international forces of work they can begin to move the syria.on in a place like >> you read about the writing of the u.s. constitution and the , thoses of both sides
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who didn't want the imperial president, they badly didn't want an imperial president, and those who wanted a federal state. you see that the idea of an imperial president has been a controversial one. i would argue that the most recent imperial president to -- presidential act was our going into iraq. people thought that this was something the younger bush was determined to do -- the father, the son kind of argument. i would ask you whether you innk the imperial presidency the large is a good thing for humanity or not. >> i knew i was going to get beaten up a little bit on this. you did it very gently and i thank you for your kindness. there is no doubt that there are imperial presidents who have abused their power, and this is true in democracies, true in the west, true certainly in the case of iraq and in a number of areas, i suspect, as well. the concept of the imperial
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resident has to be used wisely is what i am trying to suggest. the question is whether we have so eroded the ability of a president to govern anymore that we ever moved a lot of his power to do good as well as evil, to establish a worldview. it is interesting, henry kissinger, who i have known since he was a teacher of mine back at harvard in the 1960's, kissinger had this worldview. there are very few presidents anymore who have a worldview. they seem to ping-pong along from crisis to crisis, much like a ping-pong table and the motion -- ping-pong table, and machine, and they don't have the ability to focus on what kind of world they want to leave behind them. it is a problem of the system itself but it is also a problem of the nature of how we choose presidents and the kind of presidents we choose. there are very few president
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anymore that really have the ability in some fashion to fashion a world that would be the kind of world they would like to see left as their legacy . i think that is unfortunate. >> would it be fair to call lyndon johnson the more recent imperial president in american history, given the basically complete involvement in vietnam, almost all just under his guidance and so forth? >> lyndon johnson was in many respects an imperial president could i think that with johnson we begin to see the cusp of the presidencyimperial in that sense. there have been some who have acted imperiously since then -- the bushes, no doubt about that. but he was the last person to understand the use and abuse of power. unfortunately, he abused it in many respects, as did any of the presidents who succeeded him.
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but he was last person who understood that because of his consummate command of the levers of power within the united states, he understood much better how to maneuver power overseas. he was less interested in what went on oversees and his presidency was defined by his adventures in vietnam, which were almost left to him in many respects. he inherited them. he certainly did not make them any better, no doubt about that. but he did understand the use of power, especially within the united states. he was come i think, one of the last presidency really didn't truly understand that. -- he was, i think, one of the last resident -- presidents who really did truly understand it. there was one person who wanted to ask me what was my favorite imperial president. is that right? [laughter] >> i would say modern president passed fdr. >> i've thought a lot about that
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since i knew you were going to ask that question this afternoon. i would have to say charles de gaulle. i think charles de gaulle was last real president in this world who had a real vision, a real understanding of where he wanted to take his country, france, and his region of the world, europe, and where he wanted it to end up. le made manyde gaul mistakes but he created a system of government in france that is function relatively well to this day. it was probably really formed in his image. -- thereally formed latest french republic was formed to let de gaulle act as de gaulle and there have been no de gaulles since then. lle reallyat de gau did have an understanding of the kind of world he wanted to leave behind, what he wanted to do to improve the lives of his people. her member, he had a long history with the french, going the time of the second
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world war. he was next ordinary individual. my previous book to this, "the withh world war," i wrote a fellow who was the longest-serving head of french intelligence, he was de gaulle's young aide at the very end of world war ii and served as that of french intelligence throughout the rest of the de gaulle, through pompidou and although it down t -- all the way down to mitterrand. he said that de gaulle was the one individual he served through who really did have the sense of should be like and how to shape it. i found his perspective quite fascinating could i would have to say de gaulle would be my choice among them are chronically elected presidents in the modern era. >> just as a side comment, de
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gaulle solve the world according to de gaulle. >> yes, no doubt about that. >> leaving that subject, do you want to comment on the middle east and the supposed arab spring, where you have all these imperial presidents -- saddam ad, etc.,mubarak, ass etc., etc., being pulled down, and now you have total havoc? and as an aside on the assad situation, the united states is double digging its support for the islamic -- double thinking its support for the islamic rebels because of what possibly could replace assad would be perhaps worse than assad. i believe that you. >> that is a very interesting subject to something i've written a lot about. back further. in the late 1970's, i was the "new york times" responded for
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eastern europe and i live in program. -- i lived in belgrade. tito was interesting. he held together seven disparate one, all ofin whom hated each other. a host of different nationalities and competing interests, all of whom would have been at each other's throats had it not been for tito and ultimately did go after each other other's throats after tito. what happened then? what happened then is that after all of the bloodshed and the terror and the horrors that came after, we have a number of countries coming out of their that are very solidly respectable nations, part of the european union, doing very well by the people, and you have leaders in their countries who are very much of the people. there has been a positive outcome from the transition period.
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i would like to think that in the middle east we are in a transition period. it is likely to be bloodier, more disruptive in many respects, but i have this theory i have long had and i have written about it in world policy and a number of other places, but i have this theory that people, if left to their own devices, without any exterior forces on them, will ultimately arrive on a form of government that works for them, and i would like to think that is the path we are taking in the middle east . it is very often a bloody path, very often a very dangerous path, and a lot of people get hurt and killed as a result. but the end result is very positive. we have only to look at indochina. who would ever have imagined that after the end of the vietnam war we would have a country that is one of the leadership countries, particularly economically, in asia, in the form of a vietnam? we have numeral two other
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countries that are real ashley f numeral to other countries that haven't 2vely -- we other countries that are relatively peaceful, cambodia and laos. true, when you talk about southeast asia. but each of these countries is run by a single party, or as in the case of cambodia, by han s en, a 20-near decatur, so you are back to where you started. you are back to a dictatorship-type of situation that has brought about some sort of economic chain. it is a most the chinese model. >> it is very close to the chinese model. isn't moving in the right direction? we hope that development in china will produce a more
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pluralistic society. we had an interesting conversation -- our winter issue deals with china versus india, the competition and the concordance and so on between what -- it should be out next week, in fact. our conversation is with the noted beijing university economics professor who was fired from his job because he was preaching democracy. this is a very interesting fellow. democracyys is that will come to china and many people will have to be hurt. he himself is one of the victims. but he does believe very strongly that the chinese people want a form of democracy that works for china. when i asked him about democracy in india, he was contemptuous of it. he says it may a democracy but it doesn't work for the indian people. well, the indian people probably think it does work for them, but the chinese don't see it that way.
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they see a country that is dysfunctional, filthy, a class that would not work in the chinese model. each country will ultimately arrive at hopefully a democracy with some form of government that functions effectively for a country and i firmly believe that is the case. it may take a very long time and it may be a bumpy road to get there, and i may be a bit pollyannaish in that respect, but i am hopeful still. >> -- the older definition of an imperial president, something the founding fathers were debating, george washington and king, whatever. my question is, is there a sense that the imperial president -- the definition has changed in this modern form. could you maybe lay out what your modern imperial president
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looks like a bit? >> what he looks like? >> if there is a universal. >> there probably is no universal imperial president could i think there is a person who can establish a vision of what he wants for his or her country's role in the world and begin to move towards that direction. as someone who has a firm grasp of how to use the levers of power to makethis happen, internally and externally to make this happen, internally and externally. it is one of these things that is kind of you know what it looks like when you see it, but you can't necessarily describe it. if you see it and it works, it is an imperial presidency that works could i cannot identify an imperial president right now and i cannot identify an imperial president right now in any western democracy who does
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that. there was great hope when president obama came to power in the united states that we did have a person who could perhaps create a vision and implement it . the result was that he didn't. i go back to that analogy of the ladle. he used so much capital on one or two specific issues that he finally discovered that basically, the barrel was empty. even when he came back to the electorate and one another election with a full barrel, it is again almost empty. i don't know quite how that came about, but it is unfortunate because he came in with the of the world. "worldmy first issues of policy journal," when he came to office, we had a photograph we ran of custom stripping on the shop so easy -- crowds demonstrating on the champs e
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lysees. this was for the arrival of obama in power. justyears later, he is another failed world leader, and that is too bad, it really is. >> do you think it is possible in our current political climate for anybody to put forward a world view -- >> well, that is a good question, and i think that has to do with other issues and changes in the way politics is run these days. it has to do with the way campaigns are financed him and has to do with the way presidents are chosen, it has to do with the media especially. when i first came to new york in 1965, there were basically 7 television stations, and that was the second most of any city in the country. the only one that had more was los angeles. there were 6 daily newspapers. and that's it. there was no 24-hour news. i went to work at my first job at wnix the summer it went from
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all news to top 40 -- the summer it went to all news from top 40 and, all news, who would want that? -- that was the same. campaigns are run and politicians are selected, it is change the whole nature of the type of person who is prepared to campaign for the presidency. i think in some respects that is to bad. on the other hand, i like the idea of openness, i like the idea of knowing everything there is to know about the person who is going to lead us, and that is good. -- but thatult itself may detract from his or her ability to lead in that same passion. -- fashion. >> you kind of mentioned this before, but i was wondering if it came to mind the presidency of woodrow wilson, because he is someone who struck me as had a perspective on the presidency that shifted once he got into power. he was a big critic of the
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executive branch but then realized the restraints of such a position. , are there other currencies of power such as economics that could be a way to break through and be a more transformative measure for presidency or somebody, or even as recently as obama being quoted as saying he could do more outside of washington than inside. what could be done or what factions could take charge in creating a more transformative role for the presidency or even the country? >> it is interesting you raise wilson, because i will tell you a story. when i was just finishing my book, i had dinner with my m aend michael mandelbau professor at johns hopkins. he is an old friend could we go back almost 40 years together. michael asked me what i thought -- michael asked me what i thought of wilson. i asked him -- he is the
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scholar, i am just a journalist, a minor historian, whatever. i asked him and he said there are 2 views of woodrow wilson. absolutely opposite views. some people believe he was a great president. others believe he was a terrible president. those who believe he was a great president look at his domestic record -- he created the federal reserve, he got women basically the right to vote. a whole transformative issues within the united states that he theardly remembered for states. but abroad, he was a disaster. it depends on which kind of president you want to look at. to some extent we face a similar situation today. presidents are incapable of making revolutionary changes anymore. wilson found himself incapable of doing that. his big mistake was probably going to paris to negotiate the treaty of versailles, because
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you should have left that to -- he should've left that to some of his other aides could he was taken apart for mary visited by world leaders who were much more adept at diplomacy then he ever would be. but in a sense, that is true today. presidents have to choose what is their great strength. they have to understand what the strength is and what the country wants. i would like to see a president who understands what the strength is an concentrates on that strength. if the strength is not international, fine, focus on what is going on in the united states and fix that. if the focus is international, if you can find a way to resolve problems between israel is in palestinians, really find a way to do it, that is transformative, whatever else happens in the world and the united states. no president in recent years is , and most everything presidents when they come to power think they can do
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everything, that they are omniscient, omnipotent. >> is it possible for an imperial president to also be a popular president? what is the relationship between someone who is making these decisive moves politically and trying to transform a society that may not necessarily seem very popular at first? >> i think success creates its own popularity. hoe of the -- one of law llande's problems in france is that he is totally unsuccessful at solving the problems he was put in office to cure. the economies in desperate shape, the euro is going to hell in a handbasket. the country is in terrible shape right now. therefore, his popularity is down to the lowest point in any resident -- of any president in the modern era, since they began
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pulling in france in the 1950's. possibly a compass anything? if you accomplish something, you become public, regardless of how you put it through. like success. they want to see a president who is accomplishing something, and that in turn feeds on itself. that person in power can really improve -- can increase radically. if you look at de gaulle, when de gaulle came to office, it was a horror show. s before him were changing prime minister's every three or four weeks. he came in and establish a whole new concept of the president. he changed the entire nature of the power, created a new --ublic, and it worked great and it worked. the result was he was enormous the popular could he began to fail -- there were problems
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knowledge area, indochina, his popularity -- there were problems in algeria, indochina, his popularity began to wane. success is its own reward in many respects. that is important, to find something you can really succeed in and build on that. yes, sir? >> to change the topic slightly, do you think, given your vast experience, that liberal democracy is the answer for most of this world? is it truly a democracy that can function in cases like the middle east, or is the answer to elect somebody or that that what is beston do for the country without much interference? >> it is difficult. thailand is a classic case right
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now. thailand is a place i know well. i was the "new york times" bureau chief in the 1970's after the wars in indochina. there was a very strong king event who was very much in charge, behind the scenes. there was a succession of prime minister's, prime minister's operating with military leaders when there was a coup. the king now is 86 years old and he is failing and health. his son is the air, but the heir apparent. he does not have the competence of his father. there is a huge vacuum in thailand right now. what i would say is that countries where there are power vacuums like that, there will inevitably be disasters, and i don't know what the answer is. it may be that the answer is the military has to come in and reassert control. but it is definitely a problem.
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we have a problem now in pakistan, and that is a very dangerous of vacuum we have their. thailand is not a nuclear power. pakistan is. we have to find ways of dealing with countries like that when there is a power vacuum and make certain that they don't get out of hand. i do believe that the ultimate answer is not the end of liberal democracy, that is what you are suggesting. ok, good. >> any last questions? oh. >> talking about democracy and thinking about egypt, i think democracy really depends on the will of the people. we surely could have had people streaming and yelling and burning things because of health care and this issue or that issue. we come to terms. but when people interac -- elect a president and say "we
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don't want him anymore, let's get rid of him," it can't work like that. the people of the country have to accept the rules, too. >> no doubt about that. the problem is that a lot of these countries have no tradition of democracy. they have no understanding of how you can remove a leader by democratic means, and it works. one of the problems, of course, is that when a democratic system such as that in egypt is set up, it is set up with -- it benefits one particular aspect of that democracy, in this case the muslim brotherhood. we had a system that was inevitably going to bring the muslim brotherhood to power, and that is unfortunate because that disenfranchises a substantial part of that country that has no interest in having the muslim brotherhood in power. the muslim brotherhood's principal priority is not running the country or improving the economy, it is perpetuating the muslim brotherhood in power. i don't know how you cure that, except by having -- it is interesting, we did a survey, a
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creationt examined the of new constitutions throughout the world. there were more new constitutions created in the year 2012 than in any previous time in history, i challenge anybody to tell me what model is most commonly used. all right, since nobody's raising their hand, it was canada's. not the american model. there's not a lot of difference between the canadian constitution and hours. theresystem, canada, no doubt at that. but the reason they looked to canada was not because of the system of government or anything else, it was because -- what kind of a country is canada? the kind of country will -- country we want to model ourselves after? benign, does not force his fist -- system of government on anyone else? it is a nice country.
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a country where people live in harmony. that is the kind of country that so many people wanted. we are no longer the model of canada, in most respects, is now the model of the constitutional democracy. we have to change that, find a way to change that. a good, strong imperial president who can take charge and demonstrate the kind of country that others want to emulate. >> since the united states became a democracy, a lot of other states have become democracy and no one has taken the american model. you are exactly right. it is not the ideal model. have come ashey maybe israel in the 1990s. but they push them back where -- pushed them back fairly quickly. >> microphone, please?
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>> would you prefer the great american imperial presence to be democratic or republican? >> i have never registered for political party in this country. i am a journalist, have been my whole life. i prefer to defer that question, thank you very much. i have voted for candidates from both parties and i will continue to vote for who i believe is the best man or woman for the job. today,price that we pay as the world policy journal we see the most recent issues here. thank you, david, for joining us, and thank you all for coming. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> today, our encore presentations of q&a programs continues with the editor of "national affairs" magazine. he talks about the influence of the conservative magazine and website, which covers economics, culture, and politics. that's at 7:00 p.m. eastern ight here on c-span. tonight, our encore presentation of first ladies continues with the life of betty ford. shortly after becoming first lady, she had a mastectomy and released a statement detailing her illness and surgery, bringing public awareness to breast cancer. as first lady, she voiced her support for abortion rights and spoke openly about premarital sex. later she shared her personal experiences with alcohol and prescription drug addiction, which led to the creation of the betty ford center. join us as we examine the influence of betty ford at 9:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span.
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>> we are in the gallery of the light catcher building at the whatcom museum. we're looking at vanishing ice 1775 to 2012. the purpose of the exhibition is to highlight the rich cultural heritage of the planet's frozen frontiers, the alpine region, the arctic and antarctica. this is a photograph of the greenland ice sheet by a german artist, dating from 2008, and it's exhibited side by side th a photograph by camille seaman, also of east greenland. ist from the her last iceberg
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series of 2006. many people understand the importance of ice for the planet, its reflective qualities that help regulate the climate, but many people are unaware that there is a collective consciousness in western culture about these regions, and so it was important within the context of climate change to let people know that these regions are fundamental to our identity. >> there's more from the whatcom museum this weekend as book tv and american history tv look at the history and literary life of bellingham, washington, saturday at noon on c-span and sunday at 5:00 on c-span3. >> about 10 or 15 years ago, we started looking at the census department data, and something very strange kind of pops out. when you look at where the profits are of multinationals, you know, if you look at a map of europe, you see germany,
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france, ireland, italy. but if you look at the data on where the profits are, france, germany, ireland, it's just all of -- hugely disproportionate amount of profit was in issueland. so that was one indication that something was going on. >> more with marty sullivan, chief economist for "tax analysts," a global provider of tax news and analysis, sunday night at 8:00 on c-span's q&a. up next, the oral argument in haskell v. harris, about california's mandatory d.n.a. collection from individuals arrested on suspicion of a felony. this is just over an hour.
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>> good afternoon. please be seated. we're here for the argument of haskell versus harris. judge gould is appearing by video. good afternoon judge gould, can you hear me? >> good afternoon. you are coming through loud and clear. are we coming through? >> great. i can hear you fine. >> okay, counsel ready? you may proceed. >> good afternoon. for the plaintiffs, i'd ask to reserve five minutes for the rebuttal. >> you have the clock. you'll have what is left over. >> may it please the court, this case is fundamentally different from king because california's law applies to people who are never charged with an offense d those who are discharged
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from lack of probable cause. there is nothing that can justify taking d.n.a. from these individuals who are not being prosecuted. king is tracking people as they go through the criminal justice system up through trial. >> counsel, i respect the sincerity of your view but the reality is the supreme court said in king that d.n.a. was like fingerprinting. if all of the things that you say about your particular clients are true, they would still nonetheless be fingerprinted and their finger prints retained in a national data base just like the d.n.a. how do you distinguish that? the court made it very clear several times that d.n.a. and same, rints are of the constitutionally one is a more modern technology. >> that is not how i read the
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case. .n.a. is different from finger prints. d.n.a. is our genetic blueprint. finker prints have a history of being used to identify people, they do an excellent job of that. people who are arrested can be identified within minutes using their finger prints. none of this is true with respect to d.n.a. and if the court had simply wanted to say there is no problem using d.n.a. anytime our system wants to use finger prints whether it's in the criminal justice system or applying for a drivers license it could have said. so instead king as required by her cases engages in a new toalty of the circumstances balancing test and only after doing that decides that d.n.a. can be appropriately used in certain circumstances. >> counsel, are you challenging
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the initial taking of the d.n.a. or the subsequent use? it seems to me on page 21 of the supreme court's opinion, the court wrote the additional intrusion upon the assistee's privacy is not significant and d.n.a. is a markedly more accurate form of identifying arrestees. i reid that to means the okay to take the d.n.a. at the time of arrest which is what happened to mr. king as part of the booking process. isn't your argument really what the police do subsequent to the taking of the sample? >> yes. under king the government may take d.n.a. at arrest for people arrested for serious crimes. however it cannot analyze or otherwise use that d.n.a. unless formal charges are filed and there is a judicial finding of probable cause to believe that the defendant is in fact guilty of a serious offense.
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>> you say it has to be a serious crime but the examples that justice kennedy used were in making the point about utility of d.n.a. was the 9/11 terrorists and timothy mchave a both of whom were arrested or picked up, stopped on very minor charges. seems the thrust of the majority no matter that d.n.a. how it comes into the possession of the government in terms of an arrest is an incredibly valuable tool. i know they use the term serious offense but it's a little hard to understand rational of the majority opinion being limited to just serious offenses when they make the point using two examples of non-serious offenses. >> they do. but of course the reference to
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cvay comes from a quote of freeholders. the significance to that quote is if they are encountering them in a traffic stop. but it does not allow them to take d.n.a. from every jaywalker or speeder. >> justice scalia i can't, the way he reads it, he says at page 1989 when there comes before us the taking of d.n.a. from an arrestee from a traffic violation, the court will predictably and quite rightly say we can find no difference between this case and king. make no mistake about it as a consequence of today's decision your d.n.a. can be taken and
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entered into a national data base if you are ever arrested rightly or wrongly and for whatever reason. he was in the conference and heard what the majority decided and that's how he read it. how can we read it otherwise? >> i think it's fair they read the fourth amount and the interest involved in this case quite differently. >> i agree. but the reality is justice scalia was interpreting the majority opinion which is what controls us here as what he said. and if he is correct in his construction then you are out of luck, are you not? >> no, because the fundamental distinction between this case and king goes not to the seriousness of the offense. the fundamental distinction here is california is taking d.n.a. from people who are never charged with a crime or discharged for lack of probable cause. >> he says it doesn't matter if they are arrested.
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he says if you are arrested rightly or wrongly and for whatever reason. so i would suggest i don't see how you can justify your point. i get your point about is done with it afterwards but i don't about the seriousness of the offense or anything of that nature because justice scalia is very clear about what the majority meant and it's not what you mean. >> could you clarify one thing? >> yes. >> in king, i understood the situation to be that they could only delect sample after the individual had been charged as opposed to simply just arrested, is that right? >> that's an am by gute youy in king. >> if you go to the regulations that the state attorney general issued in king justice department, they talk about
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charged and they defined charge as the filing of a ticket like issuing a ticket or a complaint or an information or something. but in california as i understand it, your d.n.a. can be taken if you are simply taken down to the station and booked and kicked out the door because they determine no crime was committed is that right? >> that's how it happens in california. king is ambiguous because they talk about people formally charged but d.n.a. is taken at booking. i believe d.n.a. should only be taken from people charged with an offense. but i do appreciate that the government does have some interest in taking d.n.a. before then, even if they can't use it in case the person fails to appear. i don't think those interest are weighty enough to justify taking
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it at booking and then using it. >> i thought the distinction was being correct it's part of the booking process. being correct that it's part of the booking process. but i thought maryland wouldn't process it until charged. >> correct. >> so there is the taking of the sample and then there is the profiling that comes by going after the limited identifiers, the junk d.n.a. aspect, that would be a distinction from california because california processes it right away. >> not right away. >> in other words, they don't wait for a charge. >> correct, and that is the fundamental distinction. >> may i ask you about that distinction though? and this may be because the supreme court wasn't clairvoyant in look at the situation we have in front of us. but if you go to the end of the opinion of the court, actually the court on page 23 of its slip

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